Heading into today's (Jan. 8, 2008) New Hampshire primary, 22 governors have endorsed presidential contenders, and so far, five are backing the winners of last week's Iowa caucus — Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds (R) is the only top state executive stumping for former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee. In Obama's corner are Democratic Govs. Tim Kaine of Virginia, Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Jim Doyle of Wisconsin and Rod Blagojevich of Illinois where Obama spent seven years in the statehouse.
A governor's endorsement is coveted since a state's top executive can provide ground troops and political donors needed to win the presidency.
Governors who back a winning candidate early also can have an edge for plum spots if they make the right pick. “When it comes time to hand out favors, [governors who endorsed early] will probably be at the head of the line,” Larry Harris, a public opinion expert with Mason-Dixon Polling & Research in Washington, D.C., said.
Read the full report 22 Govs Weigh In On Presidential Race on Stateline.org's Web site.